ACAS, the advisory and conciliation service, has recently published new guidance for employers on the following topics:

  • Sexual harassment at work
  • Pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

The guidance on sexual harassment comes in the wake of the many high profile cases of sexual harassment allegations in the news recently. It gives the legal definition of harassment under the Equality Act 2010 (EQA) and explains what types of behaviour are likely to amount to sexual harassment under the law. The guidance gives details of what workers should do to report harassment and how employers should deal with any complaints they receive. It also has a useful section regarding historical complaints and how these should be treated.

The pregnancy and maternity discrimination guidance follows a statement by ACAS that in the previous 12 months they received 14,000 calls about pregnancy and maternity discrimination at work, a 10% increase on the previous year. The document gives guidance on what types of unfair treatment are prohibited under the EQA and explains what victimisation is under the Act. It sets out the important differences between pregnancy and maternity discrimination and other types of discrimination under the EQA. The guidance also gives useful help on the types of things that employers should be doing to help support their workers who are pregnant or new mothers.

The guides can be seen using the links below.

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=6078

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5271

For more detailed information about sexual harassment please see our recent article about it http://www.employ.law/sexual-harassment-at-work/